Researchers at British Columbia University of Canada suggest – money can actually ‘buy’ you happiness. Claim is that if we pay for our chores, then we can get extra free time and that will make us feel happy. ‘Happiness’ is a relative term. We all know that.
Besides being relative; happiness is also ‘momentary’ for me. These momentary instances of happiness cause a deep cavity in my pockets, bags and bank account. Those cavities can be refilled but the chance to pick that ‘one last designer piece’ cannot be re-created. And that explains short-term happiness for me. Yes. You got me. My happiness twinkle arrives through the lifeless mannequins at the ultra entrapping display windows, where I am about to charge-in and make a claim. After this claim, who cares about the original list of things. Notes on I-phone make no sense, little chits of crumpled and scribbled pointers have lived their life in my handbag and the to-do-list gets washed away like a cycle of dirty linen in the machine.
Impending wedding in the house makes it even worse. And a visit to Chandini Chowk, which is the hub of wedding commerce, is the last nail in the coffin. When our pride of cousins moved through the labyrinths, I felt like a tigress on a prowl. Eyes, neck, head and mind all in synchronisation, like a well oiled machine. It may be a different tale that they never behave like that when I am doing yoga asana. I struggle then; but now I can beat any yoga guru. Anything and everything, dangling from the dainty, rusted hangers was taking our attention. Who cared for the man-hole, when a dress at half the price was fluttering at our roving eyes? All in the name of shopping; I pleaded to Almighty to give more strength in my forearms. Not to nudge my sleek way through the sweaty, ogling crowd, but to empower me to carry the freakish number of handbags and with a smile. Confession. This escapade was after hours of sit-in at one of the leading designer lehengha shops! I had rather call it Akbar ka minar. One of my cousins called each of us ‘Crime Master Go-Go’, the famous character from the cult movie ‘Andaz Apna Apna’, who’s famous dialogue ‘Gogo jab bhi aata hai kuch na kuch leke jaata hai’ fitted so well with each one of us. Kuch na kuch to lena banta hai. Shopping is addictive. It sprouts from one woman shopper to another. We were a group of diverse age, profession, temperament and attitude; but we had no conflict of interest, when it came to shopping.
How many of us leave our mobile numbers at branded stores and high-fashion outlets; only to hear from them about the next sale dates? Guess, all of us. The bi-annual stampede at these stores is a distinct shopping spree. It may not be like the sneaker-footed, shopping at the claustrophobic Chandini Chowk. But it has its own upscale charm. Sashaying in the aisle in pointed heels and fashion trends from the last sale season is worth every penny of showing off. Hangers and display points, jutting cut-outs of 30% sale are the sought after areas. At the far end of the store will be a table or a rack of cluttered clothes, flashing flat 60% off. Now for some this could be a tricky plot. Standing at that sale point means that the person cannot afford even a 30% discount at the rest of the store. She may be looked down at with sneers. Then of course, there are brave or rather audacious women who don’t walk gingerly to those points of sale. A sale is a polite way of saying ‘I don’t believe in binge shopping but I am saving money by buying Diwali, Eid, Christmas,birthdays, wedding, promotion and all sundry gifts.’
Do you know how it goes at the cash counter at these stores during the bumper sale season? Maybe only those who have gone through the greasy grind have a fair idea.
Long snake trails are imminent. Last minute mind change is quintessential. Gawking at others shopping bag is acceptable. Taking a XXL size, to be refitted by the corner tailor, is rampant. Cat-fights during the long wait are common. Bumping into common friends and envying her for picking the same style is normal. Taking calls with a fickle mind and also digging out the credit card, at the payment counter is perfectly acceptable. Running between the trial rooms and the queue is so regular. Those who still can’t have enough adventure at these stores take to shoplifting and cleverly escape the web of CCTV cameras.
Who doesn’t get trapped by the larger than life billboards, with T&C, in a microscopic size at the bottom? To me they sound like the ‘happily unmarried’ posters at those quirky shops.
Did you know that the psychologist have named shopping a sort of retail therapy? What wrong does the word therapy do to shopping? After all it is cheering up the shopper. It is validating his celebration or happiness. It is a mean of venting the aesthetic and creative sensibilities of the shopper. And if it’s a heart-break, then nothing beats retail therapy.
I go a full circle. Retail therapy or comfort buying, cheers us up, but there is no doubt that it is momentary. It lifts our spirits and mood for a short span. For that instance, we ignore the elephant in the room and enjoy empting our wallets. Post that moment, elephant cannot be ignored. It needs attention.
If you can’t handle your drink, don’t drive. If you can’t handle your shopping bags, don’t browse. For certain people this therapy maneuvers to a compulsive buying disorder (CBD). They can’t manage their bags. Endless and meaningless shopping takes them down the spiral, pushing them into another trap of psychological disorder, hence it opens a floodgate of behavioral research and experiment opportunities for the psychologist. They have a field day reading such cases. However, in the mean time, for lasting happiness, shop but don’t let the good-sense drop.